We’re hoping that this story doesn’t really surprise anyone and that one day the UN will see that by changing cannabis scheduling at least some people in distant and faraway parts of the world that we don’t really care about might have the opportunity to eek out a living without the monkey of extortion and exploitation constantly on their back.

 

Pajhwok reports

KABUL (Pajhwok): Residents have accused the police chief for the Wazikhwa district of southeastern Paktika province being involved in killing and beating innocent citizens and drug smuggling.

But Cor. Barat strongly rejects the allegations as groundless. He insists the accusations leveled against by certain elements are an attempt at tarnishing his reputation.

Resident of the district say they have filed complaints against Commander Barat, but no action has been taken so far against him by the governor’s house.

Who is Barat?

1st Cor. Barat, 26, is the police chief for Wazikhwa district, hailing from Abdul Jalil village. He has previously served as police chief for Janikhel district and has lost one of his eyes to the conflict.

Barat was appointed as police chief for Janikhel district after his uncle was killed by the Taliban.

Harassment of people

Mohammad Rahim, a tribal elder, hit out at Barat for harassing, thrashing and terrorising people in a brazen manner. His cruel attitude has been a source of deep concern for the masses.

He claimed Barat’s men shot Ghulam Mohammad, an inhabitant of Malik Ikram village, in his feet. “Barat has threatened Mohammad with death over links with the Taliban.”

Rahim revealed the police commander was trying to tie the knot by force with the daughter of a motorcycle mechanic. “The mechanic, named Ustad Ayub, has fled to Ghazni due to Barat’s illegal demand.”

He also slammed the police officer for extorting shopkeepers in the main district bazaar and beating those who did not pay him money.

“Hashish is cultivated in Wazikhwa, where the police chief detained several farmers for not paying his share,” the tribal elder continued.

The elder said they had complained against Barat to the governor’s house several times, but nobody listened to them. As a result, Bart continues to  proceed with his wickedness.

The Taliban have kept closed the Wazikhwa highway in Goshta area for the past several years and essential supplies are airlifted to the district, he said.

Death threat to elder

Ghulam Mohammad, a tribal elder from the Mohammad Ikram village of Wazikhwa district, shared with Pajhwok a video that showed him injured and hospitalised later on.

“Barat said he would shoot me in the head. However, his gunmen shot me in the feet. Some of my bones were broken and they were removed by doctors,” he said.

He did not provide any explanation about his problem with Barat, but said, “I visited his office whenever he invited me.”

Barat’s bodyguards

Pajhwok obtained the video of a policeman, known as Lt. Mohammad Salim. He grumbled Barat’s bodyguard Azizullah — son of Akhtar Jan — shot him in his mouth, but the attacker could not be arrested.

“Barat did not arrest him and instead he tried to remove me from my job. I got myself transferred to another district,” the policeman recalled.

“One of my eyes, an ear and half of my head do not work. Cruelty has become Barat’s habit,” he said, adding the police commander had power to control the district chief.”

Mohammad Zahir Haidari, former district chief for, confirmed Barat had committed vrimes of the darkest dye against the people of Wazikhwa and Janikhel.

“Barat has also been a police commander for Janikhel district. He once barred the district chief from entering his office for months…he can do whatever he wants,” he said.

Two years ago, Barat was accused of moral and administrative corruption. He was subsequently jailed for five months. Later on, he was again appointed as Wazikhwa police head, Haidari said.

“We have complained to everyone we could reach. But no one has the power to remove Barat from his position,” he remarked.

Pajhwok also obtained a letter of complaint lodged by the area people about the cruelties of Barat.

Another tribal elder, who did not want to be named, said Barat supported a party to a dispute in Khazarhkel village. His guards shot dead a man and wounded another.

Locals carried the dead body to the governor’s house as a token of protest. Central officials promised to capture Barat, but he remains at large.

A senior provincial official, who wished to go unnamed, told Pajhwok that efforts were being made to detain Barat.

“Barat is an anti-Taliban police officer but he is also notorious for looting and torturing the ordinary people,” the official said.

The source added Wazikhwa was a remote district and the provincial administration summoned Barat several times. The police officer, however, ignored the summons.

 

He said the Attorney General Office (AGO) and the Ministry of Interior had issued several arrest warrant for Barat, but the Paktika police headquarters was yet to act.

On the other hand, MoI spokesman Tariq Aryan told Pajhwok that people should register their complaints against Barat for investigation.

He said commander Barat would be dealt with legally if people’s allegations against him were real.

Commander Barat’s reaction:

Commander Barat told Pajhwok he had severed as police chief for Janikhel, Khushamand and Barmal districts and as well commander for some highways over the past six years.

He said those complaining against him were hashish growers and traders and they started complaining against him after some of them were jailed at police headquarters.

He said those who had registered complaints against him had been taking extortion money from shopkeepers.

He said tribal elders had decided if anyone cultivated hashish, he would be expelled Waza Khwa district.

About the injuring of Ghulam Mohammad, Barat said Ghulam Mohammad was a tribal elder and his relative. He said Mohammad was shot injured by a soldier who was arrested but later he escaped with the help of intelligence operatives.

He said if his involvement in the shooting was proved, he was ready for any type of punishment.

He said Salim was mistakenly shot injured and this issue was resolved through tribal elders. “If someone still complains about Salim incident, they have personal grudges against me”.

Barat said he had killed 163 Taliban militants and had survived three suicide bombings. He said all district residents supported him for bringing peace and stability to the area.

He said Nazar Mohammad had registered complaints against him because he wanted to be the district commander to resume his hashish trade.

https://www.pajhwok.com/en/2020/03/19/police-officer-accused-torture-extortion